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City of Banjul
Wednesday, September 30, 2020

UK AMBASSADOR: ‘PRESIDENT WANTS NEW CHAPTER IN BILATERAL TIES’

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Speaking at a meeting with Gunjur Community Link leaders meant to augment his knowledge about its projects and their impact on the community, he said: “I had a very comprehensive briefing in the UK by a day’s trip to Marlborough to learn about what Marlborough Brandt Group is doing and the impact of its work here in Gunjur. I am delighted that I can finally come to visit you. According to the protocol there are limits to what a newly arrived ambassador can do until you presented your credentials to the president and I was fortunate enough to do that a few weeks ago. I would just tell you a little bit about what His Excellency the President said in a meeting that lasted about two hours which is more than you will expect from first arrival. He stressed the warmth and depth of the relationship and Marlborough Brandt Group did come up in the discussion. He is aware of it. He talked about the real benefits of the people-to-people ties that bind the two countries – the number of tourist and things like that. It was interesting that he focused on the need to have a new chapter in the bilateral relationship which we all know has had a few speed bumps in the last few years. I am confident that we are entering a new era and that we can go back to having a more in depth relationship at the political level and that will obviously have benefits across the board.

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“I have also met the vice president, the foreign minister and about a dozen cabinet ministers already and one thing that came through to me, very clearly, was their genuine fondness of the United Kingdom. The majority of them studied or graduated from UK colleges. When I met the vice president there were ministers present and out of a total of seven five graduated from British universities. So the links between the two countries are very, very strong indeed. I see it my job to establish a closer relationship with the president, vice president and the foreign minister during my time here and to take forward the relationship.”

MBG chairman and co-founder of Gunjur Marlborough link, Dr Nick Maurice (OBE) said: “I can’t resist saying that this partnership between Gunjur and Marlborough from the outset has been about mutual benefits. It is not a one-way stream of aid. We see this as not us the rich giving to them the poor. We see this as a mutual relationship sitting under a mango tree together recognising that we have strengths and weaknesses and that we can learn about each other’s lives, culture and together we can make the world a safer, a more just and peaceful place. We have heard a lot about the benefits that accrued to Gunjur but as far as we are concerned there are personal benefits that accrued to us from living in this community. One unique feature of this link is that we live with families rather than in a hotel down the road. I can’t say adequately how grateful all of us from Marlborough who have been here are for what we have gained both in terms of our personal development and our professional development. Many people who have been here at the age of 19 to 20 have then gone on to get involved in international development thanks to the experience of being here”.

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